August 29, 2022 at 8:30am
Kendall Trump, Class of 2013

Millikin organization and alumni recognized for impact on Macon County

On August 16, The Community Foundation of Macon County held a luncheon honoring recipients of the 2022 Do Something Great Awards, which included several Millikin University alumni and a student organization. The annual Do Something Great Awards recognize individuals and organizations in Macon County who have significantly impacted the area and its citizens through time, talent and/or treasure. 

Millikin University alumna Mary Lundin ‘52 received the Outstanding Philanthropic Support to the Arts award. Lundin was nominated by the Decatur Area Arts Council (DAAC) due to her generosity in locating and purchasing a high quality used piano for the organization. This award was created to honor creators, conceivers, radical thinking and risk-takers who provide philanthropic support to the arts in Macon County.

Jerry Johnson '82 was honored with The Ray Batman Nonprofit Professional of the Year Award, which is presented to an individual paid professional who has demonstrated outstanding commitment, dedication and talent toward helping society. Johnson was nominated by Marilyn Davis ‘00, MBA ‘11 in her capacity as President of the Board of Directors for the DAAC. Davis also serves as chief of staff and board secretary at Millikin. As executive director of the DAAC, Johnson was recognized for his sustained efforts and support to enrich the arts across Macon County. As a long-time advocate of the arts, Johnson’s impact can be seen through his involvement in the Public Mural Art Project and Christmas Card Lane.

Class of 1999 alum Niki Fenderson was one of two individuals recognized as an Outstanding Volunteer/Board Member. As chair of The Decatur Family YMCA board, Fenderson’s leadership ensured the organization’s sustainability throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Her efforts also include leading the organization’s search for a new CEO, relaunching a program to prevent drownings and increasing the YMCA board’s giving to 100%. Fenderson was nominated for the award by The Decatur Family YMCA.

Rita Colee ‘12 was recognized at the event as a member of the Dale and Rita Colee Family, who received the Robert and Bev Ketenbrink Community Commitment Award. The Colee Family was nominated by The Salvation Army for their exceptional generosity to both the organization and the Macon County community. Notably, The Colee Family founded Stone Thrown Forward, a nonprofit organization that provides free heart screenings to high school students, in honor of their late son, Kyle Stone. The Robert and Bev Ketenbrink Community Commitment Award includes a $1,000 grant to the recipient’s charity of choice.

Finally, Millikin University’s student organization Big Blue Backpacks received the Outstanding Young Philanthropist designation for their demonstrated commitment to addressing food insecurity across the community. Mary Garrison, the group’s faculty advisor who retired this summer, accepted the award alongside students involved in the program. Big Blue Backpacks provides meals for more than 160 children in local schools throughout the year. Founded in 2016, Big Blue Backpacks continues to grow each year thanks to fundraising efforts of Millikin students. The organization was nominated for this award by The Community Foundation of Macon County.